Buckle Trend Watch: High Gas Prices and Automotive Inflation Causing Behavioral Shifts in Rideshare and Delivery Drivers
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (May 4, 2022) – As the gig economy grows, so do the numbers of people opting to drive – whether to supplement their income for a savings goal, as a second job, or by making driving a full-time career. Each of these drivers operates a small business that must strategize how to put extra money in their pockets. With automotive inflation and gas prices at record highs, drivers are looking at all solutions to be more efficient and save on expenses.
Everyone is impacted by the recent jumps in inflation and gas prices. However, the impact on small businesses is often amplified. While decisions such as hours of operation, or evaluating cost-of-goods-sold expenses like insurance coverage are a given for brick-and-mortar businesses, these same considerations are also true for a less considered small business owner – a rideshare or delivery driver, whose primary costs-of-goods-sold are vehicle depreciation and fuel.
“Buckle understands the behaviors of rideshare and delivery drivers through our unique position serving all segments of gig driving. As a small business itself, Buckle knows first-hand the challenges of growing a business in the gig economy,” says Marty Young, CEO and Co-Founder of Buckle, the financial services company dedicated to serving drivers of the gig economy.
Inflation and Gas Prices Shift Driver Behaviors to Different Driving Platforms
As high inflation and gas prices hit their peak in March and April of 2022, Buckle noticed its drivers were making new decisions about their driving. Here's what they observed:
- During the weeks of March 13 and March 20, 2022 – the same weeks the U.S. national average price of a gallon of gas peaked at over 20-year highs – Buckle observed a shift in more drivers opting for delivery driving over rideshare driving, driven in large part by platform incentives.
- Drivers began to opt toward shorter, delivery-driving jobs and reduced their time taking rideshare jobs, which can be longer distances that require more gas and vehicle depreciation.
- Buckle also noted that longer-tenured drivers began to balance their driver workload more fully than before between “long haul” rideshare and “short haul” delivery-driving jobs.
- Buckle speculates this shift to more delivery driving jobs was an active business decision that helped drivers burn less gas and put fewer miles on their vehicles in the short term.
- The company also speculates that drivers accepting gigs from multiple rideshare and delivery platforms are able to more easily adjust their driving habits to account for fluctuating economic situations while still making driving a good business.
- Increasing a driver’s delivery gigs over rideshare driving can, however, present unanticipated challenges for these business owners. One example is the fact that many delivery platforms do not currently offer insurance coverage for their drivers, leaving them potentially underinsured or uninsured in the event of a loss.
- Since March, Buckle has seen drops in both delivery and rideshare activity. However, with the summer vacation season approaching, Buckle speculates that driving will increase once again as drivers take advantage of the seasonality of rideshare and delivery needs, and inflation spreads through all sectors of the economy.
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Buckle is the digital financial services company providing insurance products for the gig industry. Serving the vital, rising middle class, Buckle protects drivers covering personal, rideshare, and delivery driving for leading companies including Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Gopuff, Instacart, Amazon Flex, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Favor, Postmates, and more. The company also offers insurance solutions for select partners. Buckle has received awards for 2022 including Best of Insurance, a Fastest Growing Company, Best Tech Startup, and more. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and www.buckleup.com.
Erica Netzley and Jenny Love